Course Outline

For stays of 4 weeks or longer, your first week will be an orientation period during which you will learn the principles and goals of the reserve and gain a general knowledge of conservation and its importance in South Africa. One of our main goals at Askari is to share as much information as possible about all aspects of the bush. Many volunteers often comment that they didn’t realise just how much they would learn!

 

You are then immersed into a huge variety of reserve and conservation activities such as anti-poaching patrols, predator monitoring, alien plant control and habitat improvement to name a few. You will also spend a night under the African stars during sleep-out. Each day brings a new variety of things to see and do, and at any moment Askari volunteers can be called upon to assist with certain situations and emergencies that arise. The work at Askari is divided into 2 main categories – Reserve management, and Wildlife conservation & research.

 

Activities vary seasonally but may include:

 

  • Veterinary dartings
  • Prescribed burns
  • Game capture and release
Detailed Outline

We encourage you to spend at least 4 weeks with Askari to get the most out of your experience. Longer stays (up to 3 months) are very welcome but the minimum period is 2 weeks. For those staying more than 4 weeks, orientation will include an introduction to important bush skills such as first aid, 4×4 driving (licence required), fence maintenance, rifle shooting etc. You will be introduced to research and monitoring programmes and learn the various techniques for recording and capturing data.

 

A typical day starts around 6.00 am with a morning work session perhaps removing alien plants, repairing an eroded site or removing bush encroachment. After a mid morning breakfast the team heads out again, this time maybe to set and check camera traps for our research. After lunch the team departs on another activity such as an herbivore age and sex ratio research drive.

Volunteers also take it in turns to carry out various duties on a daily basis at Askari. These include meal preparation, data collection, vehicle checks and fence checks. All ingredients are provided for cooking along with easy to follow recipes so don’t worry if you’re not a master chef!

 

Depending on the season, events such as prescribed burns and game capture and release take place. Both emergency and planned veterinary dartings also occur and volunteers are involved in all of these if they coincide with the period of their stay.

 

Our activities are not only essential but also aimed at being educational, inspirational and fun. We are proud that we are valuable participants in the running of an active wilderness reserve.

 

“At Pidwa, wilderness is not merely a marketing tool; for us it is a way of life.” (The Askari Team)

Students and Universities

Are you studying an environmentally based degree? Why not use your time at Askari to gain credits for your course? Help conserve the African bush and enjoy the wildlife whilst fulfilling requirements for your degree modules.

Independent Studies

Askari offers you the following for your field placement:

 

  • Practical, hands on experience in conservation, reserve and wildlife management.
  • On the job training for all projects, data collection and analysis, research techniques and tasks.
  • Training in the use of all research equipment, including GPS consoles and radio telemetry equipment for the tracking and research of animals.
  • Personal, interactive approach to all activities with a maximum group size of 10, and an emphasis on team work.
  • Appropriately controlled safety procedures when working out on the reserve and while off base during Askari excursions.
  • On going supervision, training and assessment for students and the completion of references and placement feedback forms where required.
  • Trained, experienced and passionate staff on site, combining more than 16 years’ bush experience, research knowledge and BSc & MSc qualifications.
  • Public liability insurance.

All of this, combined with stunning, world class wildlife viewing of species such as elephant, lion, rhino, cheetah, leopard, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, warthog and wonderful bird life.

If you are interested in this offer, please mention it when emailing us, providing details for your course supervisor or institute. We will liaise with your study institute and determine if this can work for you.

Educational Institutions
  • Askari caters for students following any environmental discipline.
  • With a minimum of 6 persons, a faculty can secure exclusivity of Askari for field trips.
  • Faculty leaders are encouraged to accompany students where possible, provide leadership and motivation, as well as supervise internal student issues.
  • With prior arrangement, projects can be tailored to suit the discipline of the group of students.
  • Alternately, the group can partake in the running Askari projects, covering a broad spectrum of conservation and research areas.
  • Certain times of year may be better suited to your faculty than others. Please enquire.
Accommodation

Volunteers stay in a large and spacious, attractively furnished house in the heart of the reserve. The house is set in a very large garden with lovely big trees, protected from the wildlife all around by an electric fence.

The accommodation at Askari offers the following:

 

  • Each room is en-suite, sleeping up to a maximum of 4 people.
  • There is a double room for couples.
  • All linen, including towels, is provided.
  • There is ample cupboard space for all your bush gear.
  • Mosquito nets are provided above each bed.
  • The house has electricity, so hot showers and air conditioning are available as well as power points for the charging of those over worked camera batteries!
  • All water at the house is safe to drink.
  • There is an attractive open plan lounge with big comfy sofas and a dining table for evening meals.
  • The kitchen is large and has a breakfast table and benches.
  • There is a library and study area where you can work at big tables.
  • In the office you can check the schedule for the day, find information on all the reserve’s wildlife, and make your contribution to the data collection.
  • Lindiwe our “African mother”, keeps the house, rooms and bathrooms clean for us. She will also do your washing … and even ironing twice a week.
  • Outside there is a pleasant barbeque area where we spend many happy evenings.
  • There are plenty of outside areas where you can write your diary, take an afternoon siesta or watch the animals stroll by. Herds of impala, giraffe, rhino, elephant and lion regularly visit. The rare antelope breeding camps border the Askari garden, so there is always something to watch.
  • The garden has ample space on the lawns for frisbee, cricket, football and rugby games.
  • A small attractive waterhole, built by previous volunteers, attracts plenty of bird, insect and amphibian life.
  • Wi-fi internet is available at the house and can be accessed from the Askari laptop or your own computer, i-Phone etc. Unlimited use is available for a small monthly fee. Unfortunately mobile phone signal is poor to non-existent at the house but there are a few ‘hotspots’ where you can find a bar or two to send an sms. If you have a Skype account you can make calls using that via the internet but normally without the video link.
  • The ‘Sable Station’ is a great spot in the garden, a 6 metre tall look-out tower built by volunteers. Enjoy the sunrise, sunset or some stargazing from the top. Tick off some birds on your list, watch the antelope feed in the breeding camps below or gaze across the plains to see what wildlife you can spot.
  • Large swimming pool in the Askari garden. Take a dip after a hot days work, relax at the weekends, swim some lengths to keep fit.
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No photo of this one but 'Midnight' just made her second confirmed kill 🙂 🙂 :). She picked a female nyala off the menu for lunch today, we're so proud of her #askariwcp ...

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